Baby development and milestones: your 8 month old
What might your baby be doing and learning this month?
8 month old development and milestones: Oh, it’s such a cute age! Your 8 month old little bub is perfectly chubby with dimpled cheeks you could just squeeze and kiss all day!
It’s also an exciting month for all of you because around now, your baby is probably getting more and more mobile (think baby-proofing, mums and dads).
He/she probably makes lots of adorable sounds, and although your baby won’t start saying “proper” words for at least a few months more, you can certainly respond to his/her sweet chatter with your own “parentese”. However, your baby is growing wary of the strangers he/she comes across. So he/she won’t be smiling at the granny in the elevator, because stranger anxiety has well and truly kicked in.
What should you expect from your bubba this month in terms of development? Let’s find out, keeping in mind that every baby’s development is unique and not set in stone.
8 Month Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Baby on Track?
At this stage, your child’s median length and weight* should be as follows:
– Length: 70.6 cm (27.8 inches)
– Weight: 8.6 kg (19.0 lb)
– Length: 68.8 cm (27.1 inches)
– Weight: 8.2 kg (18.1 lb)
And your child’s head circumference* should be:
- Boys: 44.5 cm (17.5 inches)
- Girls: 43.4 cm (17.1 inches)
A lot of babies have started to crawl by now, but please don’t be alarmed if your little one is yet to start. Some babies start crawling early, and others may even bypass this stage altogether, jumping straight to walking from rolling.
Alternatives to crawling that your baby might use to get about are creeping (on his/her tummy), scooting (on his/her bottom) and rolling (so cute – but watch our that he/she doesn’t bump into objects).
Your baby’s motor skills are also improving day by day. So you might notice your little munchkin determinedly making his/her way across the room to get to a toy, or easily playing with toys such as blocks and balls.
In preparation for those all-important first steps in a few months, your baby is probably practicing standing up by holding on to a chair or low table. Your little one’s pincer grasp – where he/she uses his/her thumb and finger to pick up objects – is well-developed by now.
Clapping and nodding his/her head are other really cute skills your bub has this month. Don’t forget to clap and nod along with your baby!
- Some good toys for your baby to enhance motor skills are a set of plastic cups that fit into each other, and big, easy-to-assemble blocks.
- Because baby is so clever with this grasp, do pay extra attention to small objects that he/she might pick up and put in his/her mouth, or push up his/her nose.
- Remember that if something is small enough to fit in a toilet roll, then it’s a potential choking hazard to your baby.
When to Talk to a Doctor:
If your baby:
- Cannot stand while supported.
- Cannot sit without support.
Does baby love to drop objects repeatedly and then pick them up (or expect you to!)? While this might be a bit tiring when repeated, it shows off baby’s cognitive development in terms of him/her understanding the idea of cause and effect: I drop this, mummy picks it up.
Other markers of cognitive development might be that your baby brings together familiar behaviours in new ways in order to “problem solve”. For example, he/she might reach for his/her favourite toy and crawl at the same time.
Meanwhile, continue to play games like “Peek-A-Boo” with your bub that heighten his/her sense of object permanence.
- Bring your baby outside as much as possible and stimulate his/her cognitive development by pointing to objects and naming them.
- Buy your child STEAM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts, Maths) toys. No, these are not fancy, high-tech gadgets, but simple toys like blocks and activities like painting that nurture creativity and brain development.
- Allow your baby to explore within safe limits. By exploring his/her little world, your child is processing and making sense of all that information.
When to see a doctor:
If your child,
- Does not babble or engage in “baby talk”.
- Is disinterested in exploring or new toys.
Social and Emotional Development
Don’t be surprised if your tiny social butterfly is not so friendly around strangers (or even known people) anymore. Because he/she is starting to differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar now, it’s not surprising that your child might be shy or even anxious around strangers.
Your kid is starting to grow wary of strangers, and this is a huge step in his/her emotional and social growth.
- Given this development, don’t force him/her to go to people he/she is not comfortable with, even if they repeatedly ask or try to carry or cuddle your baby. Try explaining to them gently (but firmly!) that your baby is going through this phase of not being comfortable around people he/she does not know that well.
- Ask them to give your baby a little time to get used to them, and he/she might just reward them with a quick smile or even cuddle!
The sunniest of all smiles and the sweetest of all laughs, meanwhile, are reserved for baby’s favourite people in the whole world – his/her family!
When to Talk to a Doctor:
- If your baby does not recognise familiar faces, or does not respond when you call his/her name.
Speech and Language Development
Language skills are proudly on display this month in the form of the cutest-ever babbling!
Don’t worry too much if your baby is still calling everyone else other than you “mummy”. Over the next few weeks, your baby will learn to direct the word at the correct person. Try asking your baby a question. Even though he/she won’t answer using words, you might be surprised to notice a tiny gesture that shows your baby understands.
This is the perfect opportunity to engage your baby and help him develop his language skills. You can choose one, two, or more languages to talk to your baby, and it is fine!
- Continue talking to your little one, even though the best response you will probably get to your question is “BA BA DA DA!” Continued interaction will help baby’s language skills develop by leaps and bounds.
- This is the age that some parents start introducing baby sign language. This could be a helpful tool for your baby to express what he/she wants without getting frustrated over his limited command of words.
- Your baby might show more interest (and patience) in listening to stories this month. So if he/she didn’t seem too keen on books last month, try again now.
- You might see that baby prefers certain stories or books over others. This is most likely linked to his/her favourite colours, pictures and the cadence of certain stories as you read them out. Reading to a child is such a lovely way of bonding. At the same time, it also helps him/her develop language and communication skills.
When to Talk to a Doctor
If your baby,
- Does not babble.
- Is not interested in engaging when you are trying to talk to him/her.
Health and Nutrition
By this age, your baby is able to eat finger foods. Your child needs two to three meals a day, with each meal typically comprising of around three tablespoons of food (at the beginning of the month). Keep in mind though that some babies eat more and some will eat less. You can gradually increase this amount to ½ of a cup per meal.
Typically, the calorie intakes for boys and girls of this age are as follows:
- Boys: 687.4 Kcal/day
- Girls: 651.8 Kcal/day
Their nutrition should be composed of the following:
Your baby needs around 20g of protein per day. One serving equals up to three tablespoons of lean red meat, chicken, or fish, four to five tablespoons of dry beans and peas, or one egg (in total 20g of protein). Oily fish such as pink salmon are excellent sources of DHA and Omega 3 fatty acids, essential for brain growth.
Your child needs about 1/4 cup of fruits every day. 1/4 cup of fruit equals 1/4 of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit, half (1/8) cup dried fruit, 1/4 of a large apple, pear or medium papaya or mango. Keep in mind that fresh fruit is always better for your child’s health than the dried or canned types, which can be very high in sugar.
At this stage, your child requires 1/4 cups (25g each) of vegetables every day. 1/4 cup of vegetables equals 1/4 cup of cooked or well-washed raw vegetables, half cup of raw leafy greens (which will shrink when cooked), 1/4 large tomato, half a medium carrot
Aim to provide a variety of vegetables in a range of colours, including dark green, red and orange. Add vegetables like beans and peas, sweet potatoes and yams each week. If selecting canned or frozen vegetables, look for options lower in sodium.
Introduce up to 1 ounce of grains in your child’s meals. One ounce of grains equals one slice of whole grain bread, one cup of cereal, or half (1/2) cup of cooked pasta or cooked oatmeal.
Choose whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, or brown rice. Limit refined grains such as white bread, pasta and rice.
Your child should drink a minimum of 700 to 1000mL of milk each day. Cow’s milk should be avoided until baby turns one year old.
In a nutshell, here’s what your child needs every day (refer above for what the amounts look like):
- Fruits: 1/4 for boys; 1/4 cups for girls
- Vegetables: 1/4 cups for boys; 1/4 cups for girls
- Grains: up to 1 ounce for boys; up to 1 ounce for girls
- Proteins: 20g for boys; 20g for girls
- Milk: 24 ounces for boys; 24 ounces for girls
- Water: 800 ml for boys; 800 ml for girls
- Since your baby has a good pincer grasp now, try offering him chunks of firm food such as banana or avocado that he can easily hold and eat on his own.
- Always cut food into bite-sized chunks. Never offer food that is very hard, or is cut into big pieces, as these could pose the risk of choking. Avoid foods such as grapes and nuts that could pose a very real choking hazard to your baby.
- Mealtimes should start getting very exciting by now and you should be offering a wide variety of foods. Don’t be anxious if his milk intake drops – this is normal given that he is now eating solid foods.
Mums and dads, remember to never leave your tot unattended while he is eating.
Vaccination and Common Illnesses
There are no vaccinations required at this stage. However, you should make sure your baby has had all other vaccinations leading up to this month. Click here for more information.
Some common illnesses your child may get are the common cold and Hand Foot Mouth Disease. While these are often unavoidable, you can help your baby fight off the viruses more effectively by making sure he/she has a nutrient-rich diet.
While you should bring your baby to the paediatrician at the first sign of any illness, you could ease a blocked nose by using saline drops, or elevating the top of baby’s mattress when he/she sleeps. Never medicate your baby yourself. Stick to medicines and the correct doses as prescribed by a paediatrician.
If your child has fever, only give fever medication at the correct dosage prescribed by a doctor. You could also sponge your baby’s forehead, groin area and armpits to bring down his/her temperature.
- It’s never too early to teach your baby good hygiene practices. Start with handwashing, and sing “this is the way we wash our hands” to make it exciting.
- Any caregivers of your baby must be informed to tell you if baby falls or hits his/her head in your absence. Make sure they have emergency numbers as well as your own.
- If family members are ill, request that they stay away from your baby until they are better.
- If you are sick, wear a face mask when caring for your baby.
When to Talk to a Doctor
If your child,
- Shows a drop below 5 percentile in height or weight.
- Has fever of 38 degrees Celsius or above.
- Has unusual bumps or rashes.
Mums and dads, don’t get worried if your baby hasn’t met the milestones outlined in this article. Every baby develops at his own pace.
However, if you are very anxious, you should raise your concerns with your child’s paediatrician.
*Disclaimer: This is the median length and weight, and head circumference according to WHO standards.
Reference: Web MD